Flybe says open up Northolt to the people now!
Leading regional airline keen to see PM Theresa May follow through on her promise to work for the many rather than the privileged few
22nd July 2016
As the new UK Government stalls on deciding which London airport should be awarded a new runway, Flybe has once more proposed opening up RAF Northolt to scheduled commercial flights. This would give the UK regions immediately enhanced access to the capital and to long haul connections at neighbouring Heathrow airport, a short six mile journey away from Northolt.
“Independent of a decision on airport capacity expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick, which may take well over a decade to implement,” says Saad Hammad, CEO of Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, “the Government has been presented with an immediately actionable solution at Northolt that would enhance regional connectivity to Heathrow and the capital at no additional cost to the taxpayer.
“Northolt is available right here, right now. It is a military airport which is used largely by a few wealthy VIPs in their noisy executive jets and could easily be opened up to scheduled commercial flights with less noisy aircraft.
“No one knows when the Government will get round to making a decision on South East runway capacity,” adds Hammad, “When it does, it will be at least ten years before any incremental runway capacity becomes a reality, even in the unlikely event that either airport in contention unreservedly accepts the Government’s decision and not delay the start of construction through lengthy legal challenges.
“Flybe has long been proposing to the Government that it open up RAF Northolt to scheduled services. This would give the UK regions some of the immediate connectivity benefits of a new South East runway with none of the environmental disadvantages. We also estimate it would contribute an additional £7m annually to the government in landing fees and APD.
“Sadly, however, the Ministry of Defence has rebuffed our proposal to-date, but we are keen the new PM reviews the case for RAF Northolt. We really believe it would be a win-win solution for all - the only people who would lose out are the wealthy few who fly in and out of there in noisy private executive jets. It would be a great opportunity for Mrs. May to demonstrate her commitment to work for the many rather than the privileged few.”
Issued by Flybe press office T: 0845 675 0681 E: [email protected]
Notes to editors – About Flybe
Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline – 218 routes serving 10 countries from 75 departure points, 40 UK/35 European airports* (all routes on sale May’16 – Apr‘17); operates more UK domestic flights than any other airline (UK CAA May’15 – Apr’16); one of only two UK-based carriers in top 20 global airlines punctuality league table by OAG (Jan ’16) and named top UK airline for punctuality in report issued by UK consumer watchdog Which? (Dec 2014); named ‘Best Short-Haul Airline’ at the 2016 Business Travel Awards (Jan ‘16);is the largest scheduled airline by air traffic movements at Belfast City, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Isle of Man, Jersey, Manchester, Newquay and Southampton airports(UK CAA Apr ’16);operates fleet of76 aircraft – 51 Bombardier Q400, 9 Embraer 195, 11 E175 & 5 ATR 72s; codeshares with BA, Air France, Etihad, Finnair, Aer Lingus, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Air India; has three franchise partners, Loganair, Stobart Air and Blue Islands making it only UK airline brand with 70% coverage of reporting airports (UK CAA Apr’15); has own globally recognised Training Academy in Exeter with flight deck and cabin crew simulator facilities, 26 classrooms and 150-seat conference facility.
*Flown under the Flybe brand (30 routes/11 airports exclusively served by Flybe’s franchise partner, Loganair: and 3 routes and 3 airports exclusively operated by franchise partner, Stobart Air)